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Snapshot: Key index stymied by winter weather

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Markets headed lower in the wake of an unexpectedly steep decline in consumer confidence this month, due largely to cold weather and winter storms that hit much of the country. Macy’s reported an 11 percent rise in fourth-quarter income, but sales came up short due to the weather. The retailer said that at one time in January, 30 percent of its stores were closed because of bad weather. The Conference Board’s consumer index fell to 78.1 in February from 80.7 the month before. And economic data for the next few weeks are likely to be a wash, as most of the figures would have been affected by the cold weather, analysts fear.

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